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TORONTO, Ont. - The response of the Minister of Health to the 62 patient deaths at the Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington is inadequate, Michael Hurley, President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE said this morning at a press conference in Queen’s Park.

Yesterday, Health Minister George Smitherman’s reacted to the latest cluster of Ontario hospital acquired infection deaths caused by promising to introduce mandatory public reporting of these situations by the end of the year. “Over the next 8 months, while we wait for the government to introduce reporting that exists already in many jurisdictions, 1,200 Ontario citizens will die in Ontario from a hospital acquired infection.”

Ontario citizens should have the expectation that when they visit a hospital they will not die there from a disease acquired during their stay” added Mr. Hurley. People should expect that our provincial government will enact mandatory reporting of these diseases immediately, hire more cleaners, forbid the contracting-out of hospital cleaning and force hospitals to urgently review their infection control practices.”
Epidemiologists estimate that more than 2,000 Ontario citizens will die from infections acquired in hospital this year. This is 32 times the death toll in Burlington. To press hospitals and the Ontario government to take immediate action to stop these unnecessary deaths, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/ CUPE are engaged in a province-wide campaign (Hospital Acquired Infections: No More Preventable Deaths).
“In Burlington as at the Sault Ste Marie hospital, improvements to cleaning practices have taken place after a string of patient deaths. Hospitals have cut the numbers of cleaners and some have contracted-out their cleaning services. As a result, many hospitals have ongoing problems with MRSA, C Difficile, Norwalk, VRE and other bacteria.”

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For more information, contact:

Benoit Renaud, CUPE communications Rep.  Michael Hurley, President, OCHU
Cell: 613-818-0077  W: 416-599-0770 x.21
brenaud@cupe.ca  Cell: 416-884-0770